Item description for The Reading Room: Writing of the Moment by Barbara Probst Solomon...
THE READING ROOM/4, a literary journal in book form features fiction, essays, poetry art. In this special International issue there is fiction from Europe, Cuba, Kenya and new American voices. Scientist Gerald Holton on terrorism, Joseph Roth, Barbara Probst Solomon on Marcel Duchamp's secret obsessions, new art by Larry Rivers, a section of Juan Goytisolo's new novel on Bosnia.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.72" Weight: 1.07 lbs.
Publisher Great Marsh Press
ISBN 1928863094 ISBN13 9781928863090
Availability 51 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 02:31.
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More About Barbara Probst Solomon
Solomon is a professor in the graduate writing program at City College and at Sarah Lawrence College. After graduating Dalton High School, she went to Paris to study at the Sorbonne.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Reading Room: Writing of the Moment?
Of Borders and Rivers (Larry Rivers, that is) Oct 8, 2002
It's always timely to have an international issue, but especially during a time of war, when borders are tightened, and focal points are narrowed. Literature tends to be able to leap over the checkpoints, and the stories in Reading Room/4 perform these acrobatics. The most striking piece that makes the leap for me is "Awakening," by Kenyan writer Julie Obaso. The story is centered on a child's initiation into brutality. The story's concern is the child's reaction to having to wring the neck of his pet, Old Rooster, for dinner. What is of interest is how the boy denies himself as a way of coping with the violence, and how he sees this denial, at different levels, in those around him.
A new translation of Joseph Roth's story, "Strawberries" opens the journal. Roth describes the people in a rural, poor, European town who survive on "miracles" and the generosity of a rich count. One character complains -- after selling the last bit of "lucky" rope from a man who hung himself -- "Life is like a prison, and we have to wait for God to let us out." Among other things, it's a story about getting by on bits of luck and scraps of work - definitely worth the read.
It's notable that the cover of this issue is a Larry Rivers portrait of Roth. The artist died in September of this year, around the time the journal was being distributed. His portrait of Roth would have been one of his last works. Serendipitously, his work is part of the editor's lusty essay on Marcel Duchamp and the conceptual artists' struggle with "the pesky body thing." In this essay, Barbara Probst Solomon probes the influence of Duchamp's 5-year affair with Maria Martins on his ideas about art's remove and on his long secrecy surrounding his work, "Etant Donnes" and "Woman with Open [word]." Rivers' work is brought in as a challenge to Duchamp's restrained gaze.
As usual in The Reading Room, there's an exciting blend of emerging and established voices. South African writer Anthony Schneider is one of the newer ones whose story, "An Uninhabited Place" is written in haunting and seductive prose about a different kind of desire than the one Duchamp strugged with. The author links a "dry and disconsolate" land to a struggle with infertility, in a beautiful rendering of a thing hoped for but unattained. I find myself linking this story to the drought we've been having in the east, and the infertility of the economy and the White house. But that's what's on my mind as I read it. Each reader will bring a new association.
These stories and the others are good for reading by a fire, or at least some incense. Or if no incense, than crack the book to Donald Maggin's "Gray Smoke of Incense" and imagine!
"The Reading Room" has Pizzazz Dec 2, 2001
I've read all three issues of The Reading Room, and Issue Three continues the inspiring path set by One and Two. Barbara Probst Solomon, the editor, in her own essay included in each issue, has a way of exploring an author as if she's in deep with them. In the case of Saul Bellow, in this issue, she is actually an old friend - she'd befriended his first wife in Europe, and then Bellow, too. (Probst Solomon was also friends with John Updike, with whom she has a lavish conversation in the first issue). With Bellow, it's a conversation that starts with the memoir material of their friendship and moves onto the influences of Don Quixote and Ulysses on his work, and his argument with intellectuals ("We like to celebrate our nihilism....The fact is that in the morning, factory gates open, and people go to work"). It's a jaunty, enlightening read.
For those interested in things `70's, which seems to be everyone these days, check out the piece on a primal scream therapy cult, written by one of its recuperating daughters, Judith Kellem. For people who are nostalgic for disco duck and bell bottoms, it's a little shock-treatment to be inside the walls of one of the more dodgy components of the decade.
A special element of The Reading Room is its embrace of writers from Europe and other countries. Theme headings help you navigate through the many offerings of each issue, and one such theme in this issue is "Sex and the Ultimate French Novel." Here is a work that will help satisfy the literary scene's new hunger for sex workers' stories. It's a new translation of Charles-Louis Philippe's novel, based on the author's real-life failed attempts to "save" a teenage prostitute, at the turn of the last century.
Aside from being international in flavor, this journal is on the eclectic tilt, with artwork that follows suit (William Anthony and Spanish artist Gonzalo Torne in this volume). At a full 300 some pages, The Reading Room is large enough (and expansive enough) to invite not only writers of national and international renown but a few new kids on the block, too. The mix makes this "room" energetic, a place where you want to hang out for a while and see what happens next.
Flor y nata May 16, 2000
What a pleasure to come upon literary review of real quality. This is a wonderful collection of writers -- comfortable, funny, edgy, and stimulating. They have been brought together in a plain chunky book that smells good and is handsomely (and cleverly) printed. I sipped this morning's coffee as slowly as possible, ignored the phone, and read (into mid-morning) Juan Goytisolo, Daphne Merkin, Madison Smartt Bell, and Julian Rios. The best part is that when it's over, it's not over. There'll be more "Reading Rooms". The new year is looking pretty nice after all!